1 – 15 May – Balkans Bulletin

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ALBANIA

BSP Happened Winner

  • The Albanians were elected new parliament in April 25. In result of elections, Prime Minister Edi Rama and his party declared their achievement with %49 of the votes.
  • According to datas of the Central Election Commission, BSP wihch is the rulling party, won third time elections. The government which will found out in September, will focus on membership of the European Union.
  • 49% participant was provided by the Albanians. Also, elections was observed by Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and Western embassies.
  • According to Rama, this election was the most diffucult election for the BSP.

Source: DW

Date: 04.27.2021

The New Investigation For Meta

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  • In this Friday, Albanian Parliament decided to found out new commission in order to examining procces of ousting of Presindent Ilir Meta. 
  • This case occured that in 25 April, President Ilir Meta interfered elections derogatorily. İn fact, group of Socialist Party deputies claimed for the case.
  • “The Institution of the President of the Republic will not recognise any unconstitutional and illegal decision or activity of the one-party Assembly in office, or the decisions of any other puppet institution of this kleptocratic regime,” he said.
  • The ruling Socialists, who won the April 25 elections, have accused Meta of openly favoring opposition parties and denigrating their own party, “violating the equality of political competition and violating the impartiality that the constitution has given to the President of the Republic”. They claim that Meta has damaged the image of the presidency.
  • Meta also accused the Law Commission of rushing the process to oust him in order to distract the public from the “post-election situation” and from “solving election crimes”.
  • Previously, in 2019 Meta signed decree to cancelling local elections. Therefore, once again Socailist Party deputies approved new commission to invetigating his decision but  it failed.

Source: Balkna Insight

Date: 07.05.2021

BOSNIA and HERZEGOVINA

Right to Self Determination

  • Formerly, National Assembly of Republika Srpska prepared “Initiative for Discussion on Possible Solutions for Bosnia and Herzegovina but it then stated that, in case of ignoring the positions of the NSRS, “the Serbian constituent people retain the right to self-determination, in accordance with all international agreements.”
  • Within framework of results, yesterday process of talk and dialogue was propesed between  Fedaration of RS and BH and Croats.
  • The NSRS expects the President of the RS to inform the Federation of the conclusions and positions of the National Assembly and to form a negotiating team. The negotiating team is in charge of creating an operational work plan and reporting regularly to the National Assembly on the activities that are implemented.
  • The National Assembly suggested that a negotiating team for dialogue with the Federation is formed within 30 days and that activities for initiating dialogue be started.
  • However, there is no option for what will happen in case of failure or non-acceptance of negotiations. So, the sentence on the right to self-determination was excluded.

Source: Sarajevotimes

Date: 12.05.2021

Public Administration Reform and Fighting Corruption must be Brcko’s top Priorities

  • Brčko is making important progress on infrastructure development and legislation that promotes good governance and transparency, and that is to be applauded. However, this success will not be sustainable, let alone will the District maximise the opportunity that exists in its enormous budget, unless public administration reform and fighting corruption become the government’s and legislature’s top priorities, the Principal Deputy High Representative and Brčko Supervisor, Michael Scanlan, stated today.
  • The Development Strategy is a tool to help ensure focused expenditures on these outcomes and the public administration, with the requisite professional skills and accountability, should already be bringing about this promising future for the District.
  • To ensure this, it is imperative that there be a transparent and impartial process for selecting the staff of the Commission for Assessing Conflict of Interest and the Anti-Corruption Office. These positions need to be filled by people who are professional, committed to working for the benefit of the community, and independent of external influence. OHR will provide assistance and support to the District authorities, underscored the Supervisor.

Source: Sarajevotimes

Date:11.05.2021

BULGARIA

Bulgaria Tries to Explain Its Veto on North Macedonia EU Accession under EU Pressure

  • Facing pressure from EU members, the Bulgarian ambassador to the EU explained on Tuesday (11 May) to the EU ministers his country’s decision to veto the start of neighboring North Macedonia’s accession negotiations.
  • Dimitar Tzantchev represented Bulgaria at the General Affairs Council, the EU27 ministerial format which decides EU enlargement-related issues, while on the same day President Rumen Radev appointed a caretaker Bulgarian government before snap elections on 11 July.
  • Bulgaria vetoed the decision to open EU membership talks with North Macedonia last November, a move which indirectly also affected Albania, another Western Balkans candidate which has advanced on its EU path in tandem with Skopje.
  • But in the meantime Skopje failed to deliver on a bilateral treaty with Bulgaria from 2017, effectively blocking the work of a joint committee tasked to sort out the issues of “common history”. In parallel, Sofia flagged a fresh wave of anti-Bulgarian hate speech in North Macedonia.

Source: Sofia News Agency

Date:12.05.2021

President Radev Introduces Caretaker Cabinet, Vows to Fight Vote-Buying

  • “The 45th National Assembly was short-lived, but not meaningless. This parliament will remain in history for setting a benchmark for an exit from the dictatorship. The Omerta rule of the compromised governance model gave way.
  • The caretaker government is a government of democratic unity. I have invited all kinds of people to take part in it who prove what we need – it is possible that democrats of different political leanings would overcome the faded distinctions and fight together for the cause of a free Bulgaria.
  • Radev said that “I remain convinced that our future as a nation depends on the ability
  • There are important tasks ahead of the cabinet. We’re declaring war on the vote-buying. And I hope we can reveal the real face of the outgoing administration.”

Source: Sofia News Agency

Date: 12.05.2021

GREECE

Council of Europe Urges Greece to End Migrant Pushback

  • Greece should end its practice of pushing irregular migrants back from its borders toward Turkey and launch a probe into the allegations, Europe’s top human rights watchdog has said.
  • In a letter to Greek ministers dated May 3 and published on Wednesday, the Council of Europe’s Human Rights Commissioner said there had been “numerous credible allegations” since at least 2017 of asylum-seekers being illegally returned to Turkey or left adrift at sea but that Athens had simply dismissed them.
  • “I urge you (Greece) to put an end to these practices and to ensure that independent and effective investigations are carried out into all allegations of pushbacks and of ill-treatment by members of security forces,” Mijatovic said.
  • The actions taken by the Greek authorities, at our sea borders, are being carried out in full compliance with the country’s international obligations,” Greek ministers were quoted as saying in their response to the council.
  • They said Greece had rescued thousands of people since the start of Europe’s migrant crisis in 2015 and that officers had to do their job “against the backdrop of an unfavorable environment of intended misleading information emanating in most cases from the smugglers’ networks.”

Source: Daily Sabah By Reuters

Date:12.05.2021

KOSOVO

Kosovo PM Chastised For Voting in Albania Elections

  • Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti is facing sharp criticism at home after he actively participated in Albania’s parliamentary election by supporting three candidates of his Vetevendosje party’s sister movement in Albania and by voting personally in Sunday’s elections.
  • Like thousands of Kosovars, Kurti has dual citizenship of both Kosovo and Albania, but his decision to cast a vote on Sunday in another state raised eyebrows.

Source: Balkan Insight

Date:26.04.2021

NORTH MACEDONIA

Splitting EU Membership Bids of North Macedonia and Albania ‘Not Possible

  • Brussels had been considering both applications alongside each other, but last week Olivér Várhelyi, the European commissioner for enlargement, told Euronews that decoupling the bids “might be an option” if Bulgaria continues to oppose North Macedonia’s entrance in the bloc.
  • Bulgaria demands North Macedonia, which has been a potential candidate for EU membership since 2003, to acknowledge the Bulgarian origins of the Macedonian language and nation.
  • “Our identity, Macedonian language, Macedonian identity, are holy for us, like for every [other] country,” Zaev told Euronews on Monday morning after his meeting with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in Brussels.
  • The prime minister believes the prolonged accession bid and its resulting frustration have led to the circulation of an alleged non-paper that advocates redrawing the borders of the Balkan countries formed after the break-up of Yugoslavia.

Source: Euronews

Date: 11.05.2021

Bulgaria’s Caretaker Government to Maintain North Macedonia Blockade

  • The new caretaker government in Sofia that assumed office on Wednesday has warned that it will not lift Bulgaria’s blockade on the start of neighboring North Macedonia’s EU accession talks
  • Bulgaria’s caretaker government led by Stefan Janev will not change Sofia’s stance on blocking the start of EU negotiation for North Macedonia in a dispute over history, language, and identity.
  • The news further diminishes the chances of a speedy breakthrough in bilateral talks before June, when the EU has pencilled in the official start of talks.
  • The new caretaker Foreign Minister, Svetlan Stoev, said on Wednesday that the new government lacked the authority to change the country’s position on this issue, since Bulgaria’s framework position on North Macedonia was adopted with a consensus by all political forces in parliament.

Source: Balkan Insight

Date: 12.05.2021

MOLDOVA

Moldovan electoral body approves regulation on coverage of electoral campaign

  • The Central Electoral Commission (CEC) today approved the regulation on the coverage in mass media of the electoral campaign for the snap parliamentary elections due on 11 July.   
  • According to the central electoral administration, the document’s goal is to ensure the fair, balanced and impartial coverage by the mass media institutions of the electoral campaign for the 11 July ballot, promoting the freedom of expression and political pluralism, establishing compulsory norms for the enforcement of these principles by the providers of media services.
  • The regulation establishes the way air time is given for electoral advertising, organization of electoral discussions and principles of coverage of the electoral campaign in the audiovisual institutions, written press, internet and mobile telephony.
  • The draft regulation was consulted and approved by the Audiovisual Council.

Source:Moldpres

Date: 12.05.2021

Moldovan Government to Allocate 70 Million Lei for the Organization of Snap Parliamentary Elections

  • The acting government, at today’s meeting, approved a decision on the allocation of financial means for the carrying out of the snap parliamentary elections.
  • According to the cabinet, the Finance Ministry will earmark 70 million lei from the government’s Reserve Fund for the organization and holding of the snap parliamentary polls due on 11 July.
  • The authorities will ensure the financing of the expenses, as the payment documents are submitted by the Central Electoral Commission (CEC), with the possibility of revising the sums, depending on the needs.
  • The decision enters into force on the date of its publication in Moldova’s Official Journal.

Source: Moldpres

Date: 12.05.2021

MONTENEGRO

Montenegro adopts new Law on State Prosecution, some elements remain controversial

  • The Assembly of Montenero has adopted the new Law on State Prosecution with 41 votes of the ruling majority. The Law enables significant changes in the composition of prosecution, which the ruling parties claim is necessary for achieving real results. Opposition DPS criticized the Law, saying that the Venice Commission gave a negative opinion on its content.
  • During yesterday’s debate on the Law, ruling majority MPs claimed that it would enable the rule of law and allow the prosecution to achieve real results which, according to them, were lacking during the rule of the Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS).
  • On Tuesday evening, DPS asked for a dialogue on filling in the vacant positions in the judiciary, including the Supreme State Prosecutors and two judges of the Supreme Court, in return for delaying the adoption of the law for 20 days. The ruling majority refused, with Speaker of the Assembly Aleksa Bečić saying that the dialogue was necessary, but that these two processes are separate from each other. DPS then left the parliamentary session.

Source: European Western Balkans

Date: 12.05.2021

ROMANIA

Russia Expels A Romanian Diplomat In Retaliation

  • Russia is expelling a Romanian diplomat, in retaliation for Bucharest’s decision to declare as persona non grata an employee of the Russian Embassy in Bucharest on April 26, TASS reports.
  • “Romanian ambassador in Moscow, Christian Istrate was invited to the Russian Foreign Ministry on May 11 and was handed a note from the ministry informing that captain G. Iliescu, deputy military attache at Romania’s Embassy to Russia, is declared persona non grata”, reads a press release by the Russian Foreign Ministry.
  • The document, the Romanian official must leave the Russian Federation’s territory within 72 hours.

The quoted sources claims that this decision comes as a response to the “unjustified announcement” decided by Romania on April 26 to declare the Russian Embassy’s military attache as persona non grata in Romania.

Source: Romania Journal

Date: 12.05.2021

Polish President To Visit Romania. Duda And Iohannis To Attend „Justice Sword 21” Military Exercise

  • President Klaus Iohannis will welcome his Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda at Cotroceni Palace in Bucharest on Monday, May 10. The Polish president is paying an official visit to Romania upon President Iohannis’ invitation. They will discuss about the regional security situation and the collaboration in the view of NATO summit due in June, but also about the bilateral commercial ties. The two leaders will also attend events within the ”Justice Sword 21” military exercise.
  • “The visit of Poland’s President takes place amid the celebration of 100 years since the signing of the Defensive Alliance Convention between Romania and Poland, signed on March 3, 1921, a symbolic moment of the bilateral relationship. The discussions with Poland’s President will focus on the ways of developing and enhancing the bilateral strategic partnership, with the cooperation on regional and international security to be also analysed”, reads a press release by the Romanian Presidential Administration.
  • The talks will include ways to boost the economic cooperation, considering that Poland is one of the most important commercial partners of Romania. The bilateral economic exchanges mounted to over EUR 7 billion in 2020.
  • The two President will attend „Justice Sword 21” military exercise due on May 11 on Smardan firing range. Poland is taking part in this exercise with the military troops and equipment deployed in Romania, within the Adjusted Presence on the allied Eastern Flank from the NATO multinational brigade in Craiova.

Source: Romania Journal

Date:05.05.2021

SERBIA

Serbia, Kosovo, Greece Express Hope for Sustained Interest, Investment Through US Agency

  • “DFC is strongly focused on our engagement. Our expert finance officers in Washington will continue to deepen cooperation with embassy officers and our partners in the region to identify promising new investment opportunities in the Balkans and the Aegean,” David Marchick, DFC Chief Operating Officer, told VOA in a written statement.
  • DFC was created thanks to bipartisan legislation signed into law by then-President Donald J. Trump in October 2018. Armed with $60 billion in funding capacity, DFC is tasked with facilitating private-sector capital and skills in less wealthy countries’ development. At its founding, the agency’s official statement said it was also “charged with an important role in helping to advance U.S. foreign policy by countering the growing influence of authoritarian regimes.”

Source: Voanews

Date:12.05.2021

CROATIA

Croatian President Zoran Milanović: “Serbia’s Attempt to Equate Draža Mihailović With Tito Pathetic”

  • During World War II Draza Mihailovic led the Chetnik movement whose members were Nazi collaborators and were held responsible for mass-scale war atrocities against non-Serbs in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, and some other parts of the then Yugoslavia.
  • On Victory Day observed on 9 May, during a ceremony held in the National Theatre in Belgrade, two big pictures of Mihailović and Tito were displayed one by another on a video wall, according to local media outlets. In attendance at that ceremony were Serbia’s top officials including President Aleksandar Vučić.
  • “Unfortunately, everything is delusion there in our neighbors,” said Milanović, elaborating that a majority of the Croatians stayed at home during World War Two. “Being Home Guardsman (Domobran) is not at all a crime. It is o.k.,” he said adding that a lot of fighters from the Croatian nation joined the Partisan troops.

Source: Total Croatia News

Date:12.05.2021

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